Negative Pressure Ventilation
The cuirass, rocking bed, and negative pressure respirator (iron lung) are among the featured devices.
The device included a hand crank for the operator to turn to power the unit and an adjustable neck collar. Woillez did not patent his device.
The bellows was capable of generating pressures of -60 cmH2O and rates between 10 and 40 breaths per minutes. The pressure was initiated at -18 cmH2O and the patient was asked to count out loud as pressure was adjusted until the patient could no longer speak.
In 1916, over 2,000 of the 6,000 polio deaths reported that year in the United States occurred in the city of New York. Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921, leaving his legs paralyzed. In 1938, the March of Dimes fundraising campaign was established to fight and treat polio/infantile paralysis. Millions of dollars of the funds raised were directed to research to develop a polio vaccine.
When the polio epidemic peaked in 1952, nearly 58,000 cases were reported with over 21,000 of those being paralytic cases. Ventilatory support could be provided by the cuirass, rocking bed, and iron lung.
In 1949, three types of poliovirus were identified. In 1952, Jonas Salk tested the initial vaccine on himself and his family. Polio vaccine trials began in 1954 but were suspended in 1955. In 1960, Sabin's vaccine, was licensed. By 1963, a vaccine effective against the three types of poliovirus, was available.
Among celebrities who survived polio are actress Mia Farrow, guitarist Gene Simmons of Kiss, singer Neil Young, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actor Donald Sutherland, actor Alan Alda, saxophonist David Sanborn, violinist Itzhak Perlman, movie director Francis Ford Coppola, and Katherine Jackson, (mother of Michael, Janet, LaToya,…).
Don't Die On My Shift by William F. Sayers, published by Major books, July 1977. ISBN # 0-89041-161-1.
When Robin Cavendish of England contracted polio at age 28, he enlisted the assistance of Professor E. Teddy Hall to help him design a ventilator built into a wheelchair to allow mobility for himself and fellow "responauts", those individuals who were previously confined to iron lungs or ventilators in the hospital setting. The first prototype of the ventilator-wheelchair was released circa 1962. Cavendish developed other devices to improve the quality of life for others with disabilities and actively advocated for those with neurological and neuromuscular impairments until his death in 1994.